Secure Medicine Return in Whatcom County

The Whatcom County Board of Health unanimously passed a Secure Medicine Return Regulation on Dec.5, 2017 to provide a safe, convenient, and environmentally sound way for residents to dispose of leftover and expired medicines. The Board took action to expand the number of secure drug drop boxes in the county, improve convenience through more pharmacy and hospital drop box locations, provide prepaid return mailers to the public, and require the pharmaceutical industry to pay for and coordinate the secure medicine return system.

Zero Waste Washington supported passage of this local regulation, along with other community stakeholders.

The regulation requires pharmaceutical manufacturers to develop and pay more a comprehensive secure medicine return system throughout the county. The manufacturer’s program must:

  • Accept all household medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter.
  • Provide secure medicine drop box locations at pharmacies, hospitals, police stations and other authorized collection sites.
  • Provide mailers and collection events to residents who are not near a secure drop box.
  • Provide prepaid return mailers to homebound residents.
  • Use secure protocols in handling collected medicines and dispose of medicines at properly permitted facilities, per EPA’s recommendations.
  • Provide education about the program, and discourage residents from disposing of leftover medicines in the trash.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers must submit a proposed stewardship plan to the county in June 2018. The secure drug take-back program will start three months after the county reviews and approves the manufacturers’ plan.

Learn more about this new law.

Whatcom County's Secure Medicine Return webpage

Link to Secure Medicine Return Regulation as passed

Media release about passage of Secure Medicine Return ordinances in Clallam and Whatcom counties

Last Updated (Friday, 23 March 2018 09:25)